Illustration by Alex Castro

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google over whether the search giant unfairly favors its own online display advertising technology over competitors, the EU announced today. The investigation will also explore whether Google is unfairly limiting access to user data to its competitors.

It’s an important investigation because it covers Google’s core online advertising business, which Reuters notes generated $147 billion in revenue for the company last year. Bloomberg reports it’s the first time the EU has investigated Google’s online display advertising business, where it serves as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers to fill ad space on web pages and apps.

“Google collects data to be…

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